Today is when Intel does its third-quarter 2021 financial disclosures, and there’s one little tidbit in the earnings presentation about its upcoming new discrete GPU offerings. The earnings are usually a chance to wave the flag of innovation about what’s to come, and this time around Intel is confirming that its first-generation discrete graphics with the Xe-HPG architecture will be on shelves in Q1 2022.

Intel has slowly been disclosing the features for its discrete gaming graphics offerings. Earlier this year, the company announced the branding for its next-gen graphics, called Arc, and with that the first four generations of products: Alchemist, Battlemage, Celestial, and Druid. It’s easy to see that we’re going ABCD here. Technically at that disclosure, in August 2021, Intel did state that Alchemist will be coming in Q1, the reaffirmation of the date today in the financial disclosures indicates that they’re staying as close to this date as possible.

Intel has previously confirmed that Alchemist will be fully DirectX 12 Ultimate compliant – meaning that alongside RT, it will offer variable-rate shading, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. This will make it comparable in core graphics features to current-generation AMD and NVIDIA hardware. Although it has taken a few years now to come to fruition, Intel has made it clear for a while now that the company has intended to become a viable third player in the discrete graphics space. Intel’s odyssey, as previous marketing efforts have dubbed it, has been driven primarily by developing the Xe family of GPU microarchitectures, as well as the GPUs based on those architectures. Xe-LP was the first out the door last year, as part of the Tiger Lake family of CPUs and the DG1 discrete GPU. Other Xe family architectures include Xe-HP for servers and Xe-HPC for supercomputers and other high-performance compute environments.

The fundamental building block of Alchemist is the Xe Core. For manufacturing, Intel is turning to TSMC’s N6 process to do it. Given Intel’s Q1’22 release timeframe, Intel’s Alchemist GPUs will almost certainly be the most advanced consumer GPUs on the market with respect to manufacturing technology. Alchemist will be going up against AMD’s Navi 2x chips built on N7, and NVIDIA’s Ampere GA10x chips built on Samsung 8LPP. That said, as AMD can attest to, there’s more to being competitive in the consumer GPU market than just having a better process node. In conjunction with the use of TSMC’s N6 process, Intel is reporting that they’ve improved both their power efficiency (performance-per-watt) and their clockspeeds at a given voltage by 50% compared to Xe-LP. Note that this is the sum total of all of their improvements – process, logic, circuit, and architecture – so it’s not clear how much of this comes from the jump to TSMC N6 from Intel 10SF, and how much comes from other optimizations.

Exactly what performance level and pricing Intel will be pitching its discrete graphics to is currently unknown. The Q1 launch window puts CES (held the first week of January) as a good spot to say something more.

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  • Farfolomew - Saturday, October 23, 2021 - link

    I've got a feeling this is going to be one of Intel's bigger blunders of recent memory. There's such a giant bubble in the discrete GPU industry that it's bound to pop sooner than later. The current market is not sustainable one bit by the gaming industry. They're losing PC gamers by troves because of the high prices, and combined with the lessening of the Pandemic, I think PC gaming will be in decline. Also, add to the paradigm shift in SoC design Apple has demonstrated, I think the era of the discrete GPU may be nearing its end, and won't be able to easily recover this next bubble crash.

    Perhaps NVidia has seen the writing on the wall as well, or perhaps they're just hedging their bets with a play on acquiring ARM, but if any of this comes to pass, Intel's discrete GPU business is going to fail massively.
    Reply
  • Farfolomew - Saturday, October 23, 2021 - link

    *droves. I should have proofread that, LOL. Oh well, that's what I get for posting on AT's archaic comment section. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, October 24, 2021 - link

    What's not sustainable are the ridiculous prices.

    That's why the parasitic 'console' business still exists. 'Consoles' are nothing more than duplicate walled gardens. Linux with OpenGL and Vulkan can come in any form factor, including one that's hand-held and has joysticks that aren't designed to drift.
    Reply
  • Qasar - Monday, October 25, 2021 - link

    ok, some of us get it, you HATE consoles, stop crying about them already. its getting old Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, October 25, 2021 - link

    Ad hominem is not a useful response. Reply
  • Qasar - Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - link

    maybe, but you crying about how much you hate consoles, is any better ? come on. at least give a valid reason why you hate them so much, so far, the only reason you give, is just bs Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    'maybe'

    Bzzt.

    'but you crying'

    And... we're right back to the same ad hom.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    Since we're repeating ourselves, I challenge you to cite the 'crying' in the following text:

    What's not sustainable are the ridiculous prices.

    That's why the parasitic 'console' business still exists. 'Consoles' are nothing more than duplicate walled gardens. Linux with OpenGL and Vulkan can come in any form factor, including one that's hand-held and has joysticks that aren't designed to drift.
    Reply
  • Qasar - Friday, October 29, 2021 - link

    " That's why the parasitic 'console' business still exists. 'Consoles' are nothing more than duplicate walled gardens. Linux with OpenGL and Vulkan can come in any form factor, including one that's hand-held and has joysticks that aren't designed to drift. "

    this whole paragraph and any posts where you whine about consoles. again, its known you hate consoles, for no logical valid reason. all reasons i have seen you post, are just bs. consoles have the place in the gaming space. they are still viable platforms, and allow people to play games with others that is easier then on a comp. i just picked up a switch oled, and its nice, been playing mario kart and mario golf with my family on our 55" tv and its been fun, family time trying to best each other. you have NEVER posted ANYTHING that backs your bs claims about consoles, its just your personal hatred towards them, nothing more. over all, you come across as just an angry person, who is angry at everything, maybe you should change your name to angry oxford guy, would be more fitting to most of your posts.
    Reply
  • kwohlt - Monday, October 25, 2021 - link

    "I think the era of the discrete GPU may be nearing its end"
    The era of the GPU is far from over. Apple creating a physically very large SOC to fit integrated graphics on par with discreet graphics signals the biggest risk to Nvidia, not a risk to Intel. If Integrated Graphics and super fast unified memory is the future, a physically larger CPU + integrated Arc is certainly a possibility.

    Discreet will still be around for a long time as well for other workloads.
    Reply

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